Depression Linked to Alzheimer's

Those prone to the blues may also be prone to dementia
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2008 5:36 AM CDT
Sisters of Notre Dame nuns granted a researcher's request to test them yearly, hoping to track the progression of Alzheimer's disease and other age-related brain disorders.    (AP Photo/Douglas Healey)
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(Newser) – Nearly 50% of Alzheimer's patients also suffer from depression, and new studies suggest the depression came first, WebMD reports. Researchers found that elderly people with a history of depression were much more likely to develop dementia. The findings give greater urgency to early treatment for depression, experts warn.

The earlier a person suffered from depression, the higher the risk of dementia, researchers found. If depression occurred before age 60, the risk of Alzheimer's later was nearly four times higher than for those without a history of depression. Depression after age 60 was linked to a 2.5 times greater risk.